The ministry of external affairs on Thursday slammed Pakistan for holding assembly elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), saying it’s nothing but an attempt by a neighboring country to camouflage its “illegal occupation”, and that it has lodged a strong protest with that country over the issue.


At a media briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi asserted that Pakistan has no locus standi on Indian territories and it should vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.


Asked about the polls, Mr. Bagchi said India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani authorities on this “cosmetic exercise”, which has been protested and rejected by the local people.


“Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to people in these occupied territories,” he said.


India’s strong response comes days after Pakistan conducted elections to the legislative assembly in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.


Amid allegations of poll rigging by the opposition, Imran khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-insaf (PTI) party has won 25 of 45 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir legislative assembly elections marred by deadly violence. Thousands of demonstrators hit the street to protest against the Pakistan army after reports of election manipulation. 


“India has totally rejected the exercise in the occupied territory and said the election process was rejected by the local people as well”, said Arindam Bagchi.